"Good for them," said Tina Ackerman of Goffstown, New Hampshire, who handled her bichon frise, Bubba Watson. "There's no way we could ever have trained any of our cats to do agility." Bemisu, a 1-year-old sphynx cat, sometimes seemed more interested in greeting ringside bystanders than in the jumps, poles and steps around her Saturday. But within a half-hour, she was following owner Blake Gipson's toy-dangling signals to hop through hoops and run through a mesh tunnel, at least some of the time. "I had no idea she would learn so fast," said Gipson, whose hairless, down-covered cats share his Denver home with a pit bull. If Saturday's "Meet the Breeds" event sponsored by Westminster, the American Kennel Club and The International Cat Association gave felines their first chance to share Westminster's spotlight, it also illustrated that there's plenty of everyday crossover between the dog and cat camps. In fact, a 2011 CBS News poll found that 23 percent of American pet owners have both a dog and a cat. Agility is increasingly popular for both species, seen as a way to give the animals activity and strengthen the bond between pets and their people. Lonnie, a mixed-breed dog born in an animal shelter, used to be "afraid of everything," even being in a car, owner Robin Lembo said. She started training Lonnie in obedience and then agility to build her confidence.
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